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Wilkinson tells a vitally important, even subversive, story at the heart of this carefully researched book. Over the past 30 years or more, even as the culture wars raged, an honest-to-God "evangelical Center" came to life in the political no-man's land between the old-guard religious right and the secular liberal establishment. And as Wilkinson shows, one of the most significant expressions of that increasingly assertive center -- as it seeks to broaden the "evangelical agenda" beyond abortion and sexuality to include global poverty, health, and social-justice issues -- is a far-reaching environmental movement, based on the theology of "creation care," and the effort by a new generation of moderate leaders to put climate change on the evangelical map.
That effort came to a head in February 2006 with the launch of the Evangelical Climate Initiative, rolled out with fanfare in full-page ads in The New York Times and Christianity Today and a presentation at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The initiative's founding document, "Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action," was signed by 86 prominent evangelical leaders (eventually more than 300), including influential megachurch pastors like Rick Warren and Joel Hunter and the heads of major evangelical colleges, seminaries, and relief organizations. The statement makes the scientific, moral, and theological case for immediate action: "Human-induced climate change is real," it will "hit the poor the hardest," and "Christian moral convictions demand our response . . . starting now."
Wilkinson, a former Natural Resources Defense Council staffer, makes her major contribution by placing the story of the initiative in political and historical context, showing not only what led up to it but also, up to a point, how it has played out.
SOURCE: Wen Stephenson
The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe